It is November 2nd. How does time fly this much? If you’re on track at about 2600 words, flying through it and already a Bronze Pen, or barely even touched the keyboard (life be like that sometimes), this case of the Mondays is here to actually motivate you! To write! In order to fundraise! And win NaNoWriMo!
Diana Pinguicha participated in the inaugural Mighty Pens back in 2017, and in the two years since she’s been a vital part of the community–amplifying its impact by donating and being a huge social media presence for us. She also won NaNo that year with A Curse of Roses—due to be published December 1! Diana is our first success story, and hopefully not our last! Read on to learn more about her, her amazing book, and her time with The Mighty Pens.
Hi! It is I, Diana! A computer engineer graduate who needed seven years in a hell college to realize I just wanted to sit and write! I’ve done many things to keep me afloat, such as working in educational video games as a writer/dialog mapper/Q&A tester, teaching English, and pet-sitting!
If you found out tomorrow you were either an Elvish Princess, Mermaid Warrior, or Valkyrian Scholar, which would you be and why?
If I found out I was an Elvish Princess, it would surprise no one. I already want to be a hermit and live my live among the trees of my farm where I also rescue animals. Plus, if a game as an elf option, I’m always an elf!
You were a huge (and welcome!) part of MP2017. What encouraged you to join then?
Aww, was I? I remember that I joined because I needed the extra motivation to sit down and write, and what’s best that giving to charity and possibly winning some nice prizes? And it WORKED, because by the end, I had a draft that I’d been struggling to complete for the past year and a half!
Between MP2017 and revising A CURSE OF ROSES, what did you learn from the process? What would you do differently?
I learned that revisions take time, and you can do them in rounds! Which seems basic advice, but I thought you had to do the whole thing at once. Alas, you do not. As for what I’d change… I’d have more patience and kindness with myself. As authors, we often feel like we have to do the thing NOW or we’ll lose the opportunity forever. That is completely not true. Take your time. Enjoy your writing. Don’t impose a deadline on yourself.
How did MP2017 help you write? What’s a memory of participating you’d like to share?
I had a sponsor that year (@Ranrothgames on Twitter!) and writing more words to raise more money was such a positive reinforcement. Ranronth was really great and generous to sponsor me, and would always have encouraging words when I hit a goal.
What fundraising resources were helpful? Did you find fundraising frustrating or easy, and why?
I DID find the whole “e-mail friends and family for sponsorships” to be a bit awkward, because my family would just be “hahahahahaha no.” Luckily I have zero shame to go on Twitter or Instagram and ask complete strangers “HEY!! Would you like to sponsor my writing for charity?” Perks of being raised by the internet, I guess!
For NaNo success, what worked best for you?
My trick to NaNo is to consider every single word you write a success. You might not hit 50k, but if you have more words than what you started with, then you’re a winner.
Tell us about ACOR! Without too many spoilers, what was one of the most difficult scenes to write? The easiest?
ACOR is a sapphic re-telling of my hometown’s legend surrounding Elizabeth of Portugal (or Isabel de Aragão to us), where one morning, she was caught sneaking out of the castle by her husband the king. Her goal was to feed the poor, and as such, she carried bread in her skirts. When he asked her about it, she claimed it to be roses—and when she revealed it, it was indeed roses.
I had to change it up a bit, and in my version, Yzabel believes herself to be cursed, since all the food she touches turns to flowers. Eating is difficult for her, and she believes she will die because of it—until she’s told that an Enchanted Moura called Fatyan might be able to help her. And Fatyan just so happens to be nearby, trapped inside a stone. Needless to say, magic isn’t the only thing Faty helps Yza with 😉
An aspect of the book is dealing with your internalized homophobia, as well as self-harm. There’s a scene in which those both happen at once, and I could feel my heart just getting shredded with every word I put on the page since they all hit too close to home. I had to stop several times as I was writing it, and would often just break into tears remembering what it felt like to feel that way.
If you want, share something that stayed the same between your NaNo project and ACOR as it will be released!
So, the book is a re-telling of the Miracle of Roses, Isabel of Aragon version. That scene stayed mostly the same, as did the ending! And so did other things, such as the scene in the Moura springs, and Yzabel and Fatyan’s first meeting!
I’m still so so so excited for Diana, and so excited to have more amazing participants this year making themselves write and reach their goals while raising money for Every Mother Counts. I hope to see y’all at some sprints and getting some sweet prizes, including ones Diana has offered up!, when our first prize gate opens on the 10th.